Questions & Answers
Influenza - Pandemic - Policy Planning and Management
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DoD Planning Efforts

  1. How would pandemic influenza pose a threat to military operations?
    A pandemic, or worldwide outbreak of a new influenza virus, could overwhelm our military health and medical capabilities, potentially resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of hospitalizations, and hundreds of billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs. The disease could spread rapidly in the close quarters of a military unit before symptoms occur; infecting large numbers of Service members who have little or no immunity to a particular strain of influenza, making them ineffective during their illness reducing military readiness.

  2. What is the primary goal of the DoD Pandemic Influenza Plan?
    DoD plans mirror guidelines published by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and WHO, which is to reduce opportunities for human exposure to the largest reservoir of the virus.  This is achieved through the rapid detection of outbreaks and the emergency introduction of control measures.  Current response strategies are limited by the availability of rapid diagnostic capabilities, supplies of antiviral medications, and a licensed vaccine.  Initial DoD efforts must focus on limiting influenza spread by promoting effective hygiene and social distancing measures, and using targeted antiviral therapy.